Artists in Conversation:

Stuart Carden, Silk Road Theater Project

Why is Your Work Important in our Current Political/Cultural Climate?

The Silk Road Theater's production, OUR ENEMIES, written by Egyptian-American playwright, Yussef El Guindi, is important because Arab-American literature is important. And because Arab-America needs to find its place on America's stages. In an age characterized by conflict between the United States and the Arab World, Arab-America needs to be woven into our national tapestry (and consciousness). We at Silk Road Theatre Project believe strongly, believe passionately in fact, that this weaving, this becoming American, is best served through cultural production.

Like so many twenty-first century "hyphenated" Americans, Yussef embodies that transnational spirit of hailing from both here and there, belonging to both us and them.

Duncan MacKenzie, Bad at Sports Podcast

How did Bad at Sports get started?

Bad at Sports is a weekly podcast produced in Chicago that features artists talking about art and the community that makes, reviews and critiques it. Shows are usually posted each weekend and can be listened to on any computer with an Internet connection and speakers or headphones. Past shows can be accessed via the Bad at Sports website.

Jiba Anderson - Griot Enterprises

How Have You Become More Legal-savvy in Your Artistic Career?

Every artist has to remember that, first and foremost, art is a business. If you don't want to face that fact, then do not try to survive off of your talent. Find something else to do. With that being said, I have learned early on that artists need to protect themselves.

Tom Van Eynde

As an artist yourself, how did you start shooting slides for other artists?

Photographing other artists’ work is not as rewarding as doing your own work, but it does allow me to do my own art without having to worry about funding.

Mitch Paliga

How do you balance performing, practicing, composing and business?

This is an ongoing struggle that I find I have in common with most, if not all, of my colleagues in the music business. We all deal with this issue differently. How I have dealt with balancing my creative process and my music business has changed and evolved over the course of my professional life, and I'm sure it will continue to do so.

Davis and Langlois

How have you cultivated relationships with curators?

If the art world has a food chain it probably looks like this: Curator–Gallery—Artist.

Dayna Malow

What have been some of the biggest challenges in promoting yourself in Chicago?

I used to consider myself an anomaly in Chicago because I had chosen to specialize in a type of music, which until recently, was totally devoid of a scene: Popular Country Music. I am not talking about the old school "honky-tonk" style of country played at Carol's Pub; or the alt-country music played at the Hideout. No, I am referring to straight out of Nashville, US99-playing, Keith Urban-loving, Country Music. I fell in love with artists like Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, and Reba McEntire—becoming enthralled with the voices, harmony, and songwriting—while I was in college. I made the decision to pursue this passion after graduation.

Ana Fernandez

Graduate School Portfolio preparation: Dos and Don'ts

I tried to include work that showed the committee that I am a person who is "teachable." You are applying for admission to graduate school, not applying to be in an exhibition.

How do you Choose Which Opportunities to Apply for?

I do my best to apply to opportunities (grants, exhibits, residencies, awards) on a regular basis, maybe 5-6 per year. My goal is to get one. Because rejection can become discouraging, I always try to have a few applications out there, rather than applying to one thing and then waiting for the acceptance/rejection letter.

Scott Silberstein

How did you get started documenting Chicago's dance community?

Television and Music Producer Scott Silberstein offers valuable thoughts on how dancers and choreographers can best document their work, and explains some of his approaches to filming dance and movement.

Chicago Dancing Festival

An interview with Jay Franke, Chicago Dancing Company

Ann Fink of Carol Fox and Associates Interviews Jay Franke

Mindy Rose Schwartz

How important is it for you to update your skills on an ongoing basis?

UPDATED NOVEMBER 23rd: Mindy Rose Schwartz receives the 7th annual Achievement Award from The Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Charitable Foundation for the Arts. 

Bob Sloane, Harold Washington Library

How can the Harold Washington Library archives be useful to artists?

Bob Sloane currently heads the Art Information Center at the Harold Washington Library Center. He is in charge of the dance collections, and has programmed more than 350 live dance performances in the last 18 years. Here he speaks on the library archives, how they preserve Chicago's dance history, and how artists can submit works for inclusion.

Vera Scekic

What is the value of working in alternative spaces?

Working in alternative spaces has been invaluable for my career as an artist.

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance was at my studio looking at some of the work I had completed over the past decade. A water pipe had burst in my space the previous weekend, and I was in the process of checking the work for damage (there was none, fortunately). My friend stood patiently as I looked things over. As we were preparing to leave, she finally confessed that three or four artists could have produced my work rather than one set of hands.

Philip Hartigan

Are there organizations that have helped your career?

I think that many organizations have helped my career as an artist. Before I went to college, I thought that making art was about working on one's own. Someone would come to your studio, take the work away to sell it and then leave you alone in the studio again to just keep producing the work. Going to college was the first time that I realized, because so much of our time as artists is spent on our own, the importance of organizations to provide contact and opportunities, both for career development and for our mental health.

Tania Richard

As a playwright how do you seek feedback in the beginning stages of writing?

People’s opinions are influenced by so many things and pure objective feedback is a rare commodity.

Mark Nelson

How can art-making impact social and political issues?

The projects I have created for the last 22 years are the direct result of having been raised overseas as a resident guest in other people's lands.

Frederick Holland

How can an art practice have a political/social impact?

From a historical perspective, images were often used to glorify a God or successful citizens (who served as an example of behavior that one should emulate) or to celebrate a hero (who sacrificed in service to the state). The relatively high cost and specialized skills needed for the production of imagery precluded the creation of artworks that challenged the existing powers.

Beth Shadur

How do collaboration and community context inform your work?

I have worked professionally as an artist for thirty years, and began my career as an artist working with community groups to create art.

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